Superstitions and taboos to note this Chinese New Year

With Chinese New Year coming right up, we’re sure you can’t wait to rake in the huats with ang pao collection and gaining some good fortune for the year. While you’re all excited about stuffing your faces with Chinese New Year Snacks, here are a list of superstitions and taboos to ensure a prosperous and very lucky new year ahead!

Before CNY

1. #Konmari your house

The first step for Chinese New Year prep is definitely spring cleaning. We mean throwing out all your unwanted and broken objects, clearing and decluttering your closets, the whole works! If you haven’t already hopped onto the Marie Kondo train, you definitely should. Pick up some packing tips like how to efficiently fold your clothes and store your sentimental objects.

If you’re finding it hard to get started, in the famous words of Marie Kondo “Pick up an object, if it doesn’t spark joy in you, say thank you and throw it away.”

2. Get a haircut


Hair which is “fa” in cantonese shares the same pronunciation as wealth, hence the Chinese believe that you should not cut your hair during the new year as that equates to cutting away your wealth. You should hence cut your hair BEFORE the new year begins.

The head is also associated with the beginning, so you are advised not to wash your hair on the first 2 days of the new year as that is equivalent to washing your luck away. Did somebody say dry shampoo?

3. Decorate your home

pineapple cushion

Apart from mystic knots, red packet fishes and golden coins, if you’re feeling particularly festive, decorate your homes with these Pineapple Tart cushions! You can also hang the coin pouches on your bag to bring the huat with you wherever you go.

During CNY

4. Avoid black and white coloured clothes

cny qipao

Bring out your brightest coloured outfits and get ready for those Chinese New Year #OOTDs. Be sure to avoid wearing black and white as these are seen as mourning colours and is regarded as ominous.

Red is one of the luckiest colours to wear, especially if you’re planning to play games that require a bit of luck. If that doesn’t match your skin tone, you can always put on lucky red underwear!

5. Don’t give out odd numbered ang paos


For those of us at the stage of life where we’re expected to give out red packets, don’t forget that you’ll need to give them out as even numbered denominations. Even better if you give them out in denominations of 8 i.e. $8,88 etc

6. Place 9 oranges in the kitchen


People usually place 9 oranges in the kitchen or the living room as these oranges are seen to bring good luck and prosperity. Kam which is cantonese for orange sounds similar to the word gold, hence having mandarin oranges around is said to bring riches to your life. People place 9 oranges as it is said to help chase the ghosts away.

If you’re intending to play a game of luck or two, it is said that placing 2 oranges on the table near you is also a good luck charm!

7. Avoid sweeping the floors


Finally you have an excuse to escape from doing the household chores for a day or two. It is said that sweeping the floor on day 1 and 2 of the new year is equivalent to sweeping all the good luck away, yikes! You should also avoid washing clothes day 1 and 2 and taking the trash out.

8. Toss your lou hei high and proud


Every Chinese New Year, a tradition of almost all households is the tossing of Yusheng鱼生 for good luck. Lou Hei which means mixing symbolizes the tossing up of good fortune. They say the higher you toss your Yusheng, the better your luck will be in the year ahead.

Here’s a quick guide to the lucky phrases you need to shout while adding in the food items for your Yusheng.

Food itemLucky Phrase
Raw Fish年年有余 nian nian you yu
Pomelo大吉大利 da ji da li
Spices招财进宝 zhao cai jin bao
Oil财源关紧 cai yuan guang jin
Peanuts金银满屋 jin yin man wu
Sesame生意兴隆 sheng yi xing long
Golden Crackers满地黄金 man di huang jin
Plum Sauce甜甜蜜蜜 tian tian mi mi

9.Staying up late

prawning singapore

Get ready to binge your favourite Netflix series because you’ll be up all night this Lunar New Years Eve. Shou Ye 守夜 or Shou Sui 守岁 is a tradition where members of the family stay up late after reunion dinner. It is said that if the children stayed up late, their parents would live a longer life in return.

If you’re looking for things to do at night to keep awake, here are some ideas:

10. Avoid eating the following

reunion dinner

Chinese New Year is all about feasting the days away but there are certain foods you should avoid:

  • Plain white tofu
  • Porridge
  • Bitter gourd

It is believed that people only eat those dishes when they are poor so eating those on the first few days of the New Year sets a bad omen for the year ahead. If you need ideas on where to eat this Chinese New Year, check out the Klook food offerings for Singapore!